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Maharashtra Water Minister Blames Crabs for Tiware Dam Breach That Killed 18 People

CM Devendra Fadnavis has ordered a SIT probe into the issue, headed by an under-secretary level officer, even as the Opposition lashed out at Sawant.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:July 5, 2019, 10:33 AM IST
Maharashtra Water Minister Blames Crabs for Tiware Dam Breach That Killed 18 People
A view of the Tiware dam which breached following incessant rains, in Ratnagiri. (Image: PTI)

Mumbai: In a bizarre statement, Maharashtra water resources minister Tanaji Sawant has claimed that crabs were responsible for the Tiware dam breach, which has so far killed 18 persons. The opposition lashed out at Sawant, some even taking a dig at the minister by asking him of the further capabilities of crabs.

When asked if there were complaints of substandard construction of the dam, Sawant told reporters, “There is no allegation of substandard construction. The dam has been functional since 2004. Water is being accumulated there for the last 15 years. Nothing happened then. There is a large problem of crabs there. The issues brought to our notice were immediately addressed by our department. But this is unfortunate."

Speaking on the incident that led to the death of 18 people, Sawant said some villagers suspect a cloudburst caused rise of waters in the dam. “Just two days ago, there 192 mm rainfall within 8 hours. Some villagers are afraid that it was a cloudburst as the water level rose by eight metres in eight hours. It is one of the natural calamities. It is unfortunate,” the minister said adding the government had taken all the necessary steps.

Maharasthra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has ordered probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be headed by an under-secretary level officer.

Meanwhile, the opposition has lashed out at the minister. “This is a shameful defence to save his party and to save the contractor who is responsible for this. What a logic! To defend big corrupt sharks, you blame poor crabs. His party MLA is the contractor of the same dam. It can’t be tolerated. Inquiry should be there. He must be punished,” Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said.

NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto put out a tweet with a GIF of running crabs. Taking a dig at the minister, Crasto asked if the crabs were capable of doing this as well.

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